SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Kiosks selling Dead Sea beauty products were removed from all Westfield malls in New Zealand in the wake of a TV investigation exposing its sales practices on elderly and vulnerable shoppers.
Westfield, a company founded by Frank Lowy, who fled the Holocaust to Israel before immigrating to Australia, shut the kiosks in its malls this week, according to local media.
Last week, TV3 in New Zealand aired its expose on the “cynical” methods used by young Israeli salespeople for the Dead Sea Spa company. It triggered “hundreds and hundreds of complaints,” the station said.
Most of the young Israelis staffing the kiosks were working illegally, without work visas, according to TV3.
The investigation alleged that an 82-year-old woman was bullied into buying more than $5,000 in products, with an Israeli escorting her to a bank machine to withdraw more funds. The news program also interviewed an autistic man who claimed he was sold $4,000 worth of products within a half hour. A man with short-term memory loss said he was convinced to spend $13,000 over three days.
South African-born Aviva Raisun, the company’s manager, abandoned her office when TV3 cameras arrived Tuesday, the day the decision was made to eject the kiosks from several malls. She then called police when they arrived at her home.